The interest in establishing a facility for higher education in Ocean County dates back to 1957 when the Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders went on record favoring a study of the need for such a facility within the county.
In accordance with the provisions of the New Jersey State Law of 1962, which enabled counties to establish and operate colleges, the Board of Chosen Freeholders authorized an in-depth feasibility study. As a result of the study, the Freeholders recommended that a two-year college for 900 students be established. Subsequently, this recommendation was supported by the New Jersey Department of Education. Thereafter, the State Board of Education officially approved Ocean County’s request to establish a two-year college and substantiated the ability of the county to support it financially.
On November 5, 1963, the citizens of the county approved by public referendum the establishment of a college in Ocean County. Immediately thereafter on January 15, 1964, the Board of Chosen Freeholders adopted a resolution to establish in Ocean County the first county college in the State of New Jersey. On March 4, 1964, the nine members of the Board of Trustees were appointed.
The selection of the college president, the architect, and the campus site in fall 1964 enabled the Board of Trustees and the Administration to plan for the educational programs and facilities to accommodate 900 full-time students. Key members of the administrative staff were appointed in September 1965 to engage in the detailed planning necessary for the opening of the college in the fall of 1966. The college was so well received that 979 students enrolled in fall 1966. Ocean County College has been accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education since May 1969.
Throughout the College’s history, student enrollment has grown steadily, from just 979 students in the fall of 1966 to 8,176 in the fall of 2018. The number of students graduating each year has increased substantially as well, from 208 graduates in 1968 to nearly 1,500 in 2018.
OCC offers A.A., A.S., and A.A.S. degrees, along with certificate programs in nearly 50 areas of study. Students can pursue part-time or full-time study with classes available days, evenings, and weekends. Students can also take advantage of online courses as well as have the opportunity to study at OCC’s Southern Education Center in Manahawkin and at 19 off-campus sites located throughout the county.
Additionally, a variety of noncredit continuing and professional education courses, trips, seminars, and summer programs for children are offered. Year-round community activities include art exhibits, lectures, and musical and dramatic productions in the Jay and Linda Grunin Center Theatre and Gallery and planetarium shows in the Robert J. Novins Planetarium.
The Main Campus has seen great growth over the years; through a four-phase construction plan from 1966 to 1974, 11 major buildings were completed. An additional five new buildings were constructed during the 1980s and 1990s, and the H. George Buckwald access road opened in 1988. The campus continued to expand between 2000 and 2011 with another 12 new structures. Most recently, the Gateway Building, representing a joint venture between OCC and Kean University, opened in 2013; in 2016, the Jon and Judith Larson Student Center opened and a third access road, West College Drive, was added; and the H. Hovnanian Health Sciences Building opened to nursing and allied health students in 2018.
Ocean County College, an innovative academic leader, provides affordable, student-centered, high quality educational experiences that prepare and empower diverse learners to contribute to and succeed in global societies. OCC invests in and fosters academic, economic, and cultural excellence and ensures financial strength by generating new revenue streams, engaging in national and international university and corporate partnerships, and cultivating a technologically progressive and entrepreneurial spirit.
Ocean County College will be the boldest, most creative, most innovative student-centered college in America and, by pioneering community college education internationally, will be a new prototype for global education.
To assure achievement of its mission, Ocean County College is guided by the organizational principles listed below. They define the high regard the College holds for its employees, students, and other stakeholders. The Guiding Principles were developed and ratified by the Guiding Coalition and President’s Leadership Team. Effecting these principles will require a persistent commitment to organizational development to achieve a challenging, stimulating, and supportive work environment.
Ocean County College is student-focused:
THE SUCCESS OF OUR STUDENTS IS OUR PRIORITY
Proactive: Vigorously seek new opportunities for the students in both existing and new markets using ingenuity and innovative thinking.
Supportive: Guide, coach, and mentor one another to provide the best possible experience for students and enable them to achieve their full potential.
Communicative: Articulate ideas and concerns, practice genuine listening before speaking, and maintain confidentiality when appropriate.
Impartial: Remain open-minded and engage new initiatives with optimism and enthusiasm.
Positive: Remain congenial, practice empathy, and have fun.
Courageous: Act with discipline to maintain accountability while pursuing decisions based on evidence and consensus.
Collaborative: Practice teamwork in all actions and decisions.
Trustworthy: Practice integrity and transparency in all actions.
Accountable: Commit to student success while delivering high performance and presenting results transparently.
Ocean County College 20/20 Vision
In 2020, Ocean County College has become a new model for higher education in the 21st century. Through a strategy of deep partnering with premier universities and multi-national corporations, the College has achieved broad reach across the United States and globally with joint bachelor and graduate online degrees. OCC provides affordable access; demonstrates resilience in the face of demographic, economic, and social forces of disruption; maintains continuing performance excellence and financial sustainability; serves as a technology innovator making data-driven decisions; and enhances the civic and financial well-being of all County citizens and students worldwide who take advantage of its offerings.
Established in 1964 as a provider of associate degree learning and continuing and professional education for the citizens of Ocean County, New Jersey, the College
has expanded both the scope and richness of its mission. OCC has forged alliances with a wide range of academic institutions, including Kean University, New Jersey Institute of Technology, University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, Sussex County Community College, and the Ocean County Performing Arts Academy. Through these relationships, OCC brokers face-to-face, hybrid, and online learning for the citizens of Ocean County and globally at the baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral levels. It has refined and increased its continuing professional education and employment-focused certificate offerings.
Ocean County College has become an online learning provider with international reach by leveraging its partnerships with technology vendors, like Pearson Learning Solutions, and a range of U.S. and international universities. As a result, joint degree programs have been developed with institutions in other countries, such as Mexico, Egypt, and other areas in the Middle East and North Africa. In these venues, Ocean offers its freshman and sophomore courses to students already enrolled at these institutions, providing them with more convenient and affordable pathways to high quality bachelor and graduate degree options. These programs yield substantial net revenue, which supports the financial sustainability of the College in a time of declining public funding and traditional enrollments. Additionally, Ocean’s Learning Management System platform is being used by a number of other institutions that are contracting with Ocean County College to offer online learning programs.
Ocean County College’s evolution is also clearly reflected in its physical presence. Its main campus has flourished with the construction of a shared-ownership Gateway Building with Kean University; a new Student Center; the STEM Building with the New Jersey Institute of Technology, the Health Sciences Center with a health education university, and a facility with a major medical provider; as well as a regional Performing Arts Center, which serves as the cultural hub of Ocean County. In addition to new construction, there has been significant ongoing renovation and renewal of existing buildings and facilities.
Capitalizing on Ocean County College’s partnerships, students and faculty are deeply engaged with innovative entrepreneurs, graduate school professors, research universities, local businesses, and multi-national corporations. By attracting universities to share its expansive campus, Ocean County College has created a university community in Toms River while retaining its connection to its community college roots: culture, mission, and affordability.
Ocean County College has thoroughly reinvented itself to ensure its sustainability to 2020 and beyond, with enrollment in degree and non-degree programs surpassing 20,000 learners of all kinds. Achieving these outcomes has required an earnest commitment to profound organizational change, which has been facilitated by a solid partnership among the President, the College Administration, the Board of Trustees, and the Ocean County Freeholders, as well as by enthusiastic support from OCC faculty and staff.
The College has extended itself in an unprecedented manner to generate new mission, vision, strategy, and value propositions that focus on performance excellence and innovation. Most importantly, all of the College’s efforts have and will continue to focus on students, both traditional and nontraditional, and their recruitment, retention, and success.
Strategies for Performance Excellence and Success
Strategy #1: Craft and Execute Transformative Strategies
Strategy #2: Build Resilience through Innovation, Reinvention, and New Programs
Strategy #3: Develop Leadership and Fill Key Positions
Strategy #4: Understand and Meet the Needs of Stakeholders
Strategy #5: Create a Challenging and Supportive Work Environment
Strategy #6: Leverage Collaboration, Partnership, and Sharing
Strategy #7: Continuously Improve Learning Support Processes and Practices
Strategy #8: Leverage Information and Results